The Passenger by Lisa Lutz – Book Review

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Author: Liza Lutz

Publishers: Titan Books

Published on: March 2016

Source: Review copy provided by Bloomsbury India

Pages: 381

Fiction|Crime|Suspense

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz starts off with an incredible opening. Frank Dubois is Dead and his wife Tanya Dubois is sitting near him, drinking bourbon.

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t even have an alibi, so you have to take my word for it.

Married to him for seven years, but she hardly sheds tears and decides to take off. She doesn’t want the police to be after her, because the spouse is always the first suspect. Real reason – she doesn’t want them to be digging into her past. Her past which drove her miles away from her hometown, her past that made her get married to Frank as a safety net. What follows next is how she changes identity to Amelia Keen, moves to a different town and tries to start over. She meets Blue, the mysterious bar girl who looks at the person behind Amelia Keen and knows she is hiding something. Can Tanya survive her past, is Blue a friend or a foe,  is what you will find towards the end of the book where Tanya keeps shedding identities like Debra Maze, Emma Lark, Sonia Lubovich and Paige and more.

The female protagonist is strong and wilful and is learning to survive amidst all the chaos that has happened to her in the past. I’m not calling her Tanya because that ain’t her real name 😉 When I first got the book, I thought there were eight different POVs. But only after I finished reading Tanya Dubois and started with Amelia Keen, did I understand that the character is just finding new identities and things got interesting.

There are side plots that keep you entertained along the way until you reach the final reveal. So you are pushed to the edge with so much suspense and build up and there is this string of email conversations between a Ryan and a Jo , that makes you want to turn the pages fast and get to the end to where it all becomes a full circle.

I loved that the book was strongly-centered around a female character, showing her in both lights – Badass handling a gun, Good Samaritan anonymously tipping police about explosives hidden in a house. Every place she travels to, the identity changes, adjusting to the new name/place/backstory only to run again, but I wasn’t bored at all. The story keeps you engrossed, and you can’t stop feeling something’s gonna happen at every page turn.

So what I didn’t like about the book – the climax wasn’t what I expected. After a strong buildup, I was put down by the end. If I wasn’t giving away too much, I would say that towards the end, I didn’t like Tanya (or whatever her real name is 😉 ) too much.

I rate the book a 3.5 stars!!

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*Thank you Bloomsbury India for the review copy*

You can find my review on GoodReads,

The Fifth Petal – Book review

The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry is the second book in the Lace Reader series. Though I haven’t read the first one, I was pretty much able to follow the plot.

 

Synopsis

Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, investigates a 25-year-old triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed one Halloween night. Aided by Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims who has returned to town, Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter in Salem’s past. Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and sometime-aunt to Callie, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

The book begins with a crime scene and a bleeding child, the daughter of one of the victims. What spooks you is the scar in the little girl Callie’s palm, shaped in the form of a rose- a five petaled rose to be exact. Fast forward to 25 years and the investigation is already closed, but unsolved. Rose Whelan is accused of the murder but losing her mind on the night of the murder saves her from being charged. The book draws an intriguing start and you start wondering who actually killed the three girls. And immediately, in the present, 2014, same day of the murder, 25 years later another death happens and again Rose is put on the spot. When the news becomes viral, the only other survivor of that fateful night, Callie learns that Auntie Rose is still alive and returns to Salem in order to find the truth. What follows next, is the revelation of bits and pieces of the night of 1989 murders and whether Rose gets acquitted and who is the mystery fifth girl aka fifth petal.

The book was scary and spooky at times when Callie had her nightmares or when Rose talks about the screaming Banshee. I wanted to like the book despite the spookiness, but i found it very long and dragging. Some parts of the book were very detailed and not required at all, like the detailed explanations about Paul and Callie’s Italy trip. Or the parts about May and Rafferty’s daughter. Maybe they were added to give a connection to the first book, but they were not needed because the book was lengthy enough. I was mainly interested in the book because it had connections with the famous witch trials of Salem. But the girls who were murdered were anything but witches.

Rafferty mainly relied on Callie’s dreams and Ann’s visions. This was totally unlike other suspense/thrillers where the police do all the work.A lot of stuff about music therapy was completely lost on me. 😦

I did predict the killer to an extent and it did get a little fast paced towards the end. Maybe because i skipped a lot of details about how Rafferty gets in towards the end.

It’s a worth a try, if you are interested in speaking tress and screaming Banshees. My rating would be 3/5.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book (through NetGalley) from Blogging for Books for this review.